PAMLICO COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A former teacher of the Pamlico County Schools system addressed the school board in a public comment to allege discrimination in the workplace.
Charlon Long, who taught in Pamlico County for 15 years, says her final year created a “bitter environment” that she had to leave.
Long said in her comment to the school board that she now joins a long list of teachers of color who have resigned in the past two years.
“If you don’t believe me, just listen to the names of the minority employees that you have lost within the past two years. I know who I am, I know my worth. I love my students,” Long said.
Long added that her resignation was sparked by several incidents. She felt microaggressions from her superiors, noticing body language and tone that she identified as discriminatory.
She says she watched that dynamic translate to the students, with kids of color being treated differently than their white counterparts.
When Long gave her notice of moving on from Pamlico County Schools, she says she was given hours notice to pack up her classroom, turn in her keys and badge, and leave the school campus.
They didn’t even give me a chance to say goodbye to my students,” Long said. “They didn’t give me the opportunity because they retaliated.”
The Pamlico County School Board returned a request for comment from WITN, saying in part:
“The board was briefed in detail about the allegations made by the former teacher who spoke at the March 7 meeting and who recently resigned. The board is satisfied that the former teacher was not discriminated against, nor was she subject to any retaliation. It is an unfortunate fact that there is a relative shortage of minority teachers throughout North Carolina and the entire country. Many efforts are being undertaken to address the situation, but it will require time and a concerted and collaborative effort at various levels. The Pamlico County Schools welcomes applications from strong teacher candidates of all races.”
Long says she plans to attend the school board meeting for public comment again next month and is considering seeking help from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if her complaint sparks no action from the board.
The next Pamlico County Board of Education meeting will be held on April 4 and can be live-streamed from the board’s YouTube page.